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Uncommon grounds : the history of coffee and how it transformed our world
Pendergrast, Mark.
Adult Nonfiction TX415 .P46 1999

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Caffeinated beverage enthusiast Pendergrast (For God, Country and Coca-Cola) approaches this history of the green bean with the zeal of an addict. His wide-ranging narrative takes readers from the legends about coffee's discoveryÄthe most appealing of which, Pendergast writes, concerns an Ethiopian goatherd who wonders why his goats are dancing on their hind legs and butting one anotherÄto the corporatization of the specialty cafe. Pendergrast focuses on the influence of the American coffee trade on the world's economies and cultures, further zeroing in on the political and economic history of Latin America. Coffee advertising, he shows, played a major role in expanding the American market. In 1952, a campaign by the Pan American Coffee Bureau helped institutionalize the coffee break in America. And the invention of the still ubiquitous Juan Valdez in a 1960 ad campaign caused name recognition for Colombian coffee to skyrocket within months of its introduction. The Valdez character romanticizes a very real phenomenonÄthe painstaking process of tending and harvesting a coffee crop. Yet the price of a tall latte in America, Pendergrast notes, is a day's wage for many of the people who harvest it on South American hillsides. Pendergrast does not shy away from exploring such issues in his cogent histories of Starbucks and other firms. Throughout the book, asides like the coffee jones of health-food tycoon C.W. PostÄwho raged against the evils of coffee and developed Postum as a substitute for regular brewÄprovide welcome diversions. Pendergrast's broad vision, meticulous research and colloquial delivery combine aromatically, and he even throws in advice on how to brew the perfect cup. 76 duotones. Author tour. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

In this enlightening sociocultural chronicle, journalist Pendergrast (For God, Country & Coca-Cola) focuses on the popularity of coffee, especially in the Western Hemisphere. Coffee-drinking came late to the New World but was embraced almost immediately. It accompanied settlers on their way west (Native Americans referred to it as "black medicine") and was popular with soldiers in the Civil War and both world wars. Pendergrast's book is filled with stories about the rise (and fall) of coffee dynasties like Hills Brothers and Folgers and of how the fledgling advertising industry helped promote each. The book concludes with the advent of specialty firms like Starbucks. While it lacks the extensive industry overview that characterizes Gregory Dicum and Nina Luttinger's The Coffee Book: Anatomy of an Industry from Crop to the Last Drop (LJ 4/1/99), it provides substantial background on coffee production as well as making an entertaining yet serious attempt to understand the popularity of the beverage. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries.ÄRichard S. Drezen, Washington Post News Research Ctr., Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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